© Darren Jew / darrenjew.com

Friday 9 September – Last night Vava’u was inundated- the streets thoroughly awash and the kids making the most of flooded footy fields. But by Friday morrning, Thursday’s strong SE tradewind has swung around to the north and the sky is clear.

We head on our favourite morning course out into the open sea and southward around the island of Hunga. We sight a few pods, but all are set on travelling. With the northerly quite fresh, the morning is a little frustrating.

By lunchtime we found ourselves sheltering amongst the turquoise reefs and palm-studded coral islands to the south, where we encounter a beautiful mum and her calf. The light and visibility is a vast improvement on the previous day but at first we have a little trouble picking her up underwater. On our second drop, again thwarted by the visibility, we’re about to return to the boat when a huge fluke begins rising vertically through the surface of the sea around 30 metres from our group. As we fin over toward her she begins to materialise from the blue, and we can see her floating prone in the water column, fluke up/head down and her calf sheltering below and rising to the surface for a regular breath. We hang quitely by mum’s side as the calf repeats its routine. This mum is possibly afluke -up feeder positioning herself in this way to facilitate nursing her young.